Dec 2, 2014 12:32 AM , By Mohammad Ali
Satish Gautam

Satish Gautam
Jat leaders accuse party of hijacking Raja Mahendra Pratap for political interests

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s rhetoric of celebrating the birth anniversary of the Jat king Raja Mahendra Pratap received a major setback when party MP from Aligarh Satish Gautam was forced to leave midway a public function to mark the 128th birthday anniversary of the Jat king on Monday.

The function was organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Jat Mahasabha, an outfit of the Jats in the State, at a park. Visibly angry with the BJP for “politicising” and “dividing society” by “misusing” Raja Mahendra Pratap’s legacy, the Jat leaders didn’t allow the BJP MP to speak at the function. Several Jat leaders objected to Mr. Gautam’s attempt to speak after which Mr. Gautam was forced to leave the function midway.

Earlier, the State BJP had demanded to celebrate the birth anniversary mandatorily inside the Aligarh Muslim University campus, creating a controversy and confrontation with the AMU administration. The saffron party backed down after AMU Vice-Chancellor Lt. Gen. (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah wrote a letter to the Union HRD Minister saying the BJP’s insistence may lead to “communal conflagration” in Aligarh.

On Monday, the Jat leaders accused the BJP of “hijacking” the Jat king for its political interests. “The BJP will not be allowed to hijack Raja Mahendra Pratap who was a mass leader and a freedom fighter,” said Vijender Singh, who heads the Aligarh unit of Akhil Bharatiya Jat Mahasabha.

“Raja Mahendra Pratap believed in social harmony and religion of love and we won’t allow his legacy to be misused by any political party to divide society,” added the Jat leader.

“Surprisingly, we who have been organising the birthday for years, were never even consulted by the BJP,” added Mr. Vijender Singh.

Besides, the grand plans of the BJP to celebrate the birth anniversary of the Jat king turned out to be a non-event which failed to attract people. In an indication that even the state BJP unit distanced itself from the controversy, no State BJP leader was present when Satish Gautam led the celebration at the BJP office in Aligarh in the presence of a small number of party volunteers. Even the State BJP chief Lakshmi Kant Bajpayee who had earlier aggressively demanded that the birth anniversary should be celebrated inside the AMU campus, was conspicuously absent from the scene.